The fact that this feature portrait of perhaps the world’s greatest (but previously unforthcoming) photographer exists at all is reason enough for celebration. That it’s also an authoritative, remarkably candid and often moving study is manna indeed. Expanded out of the recent South Bank Show edit, it follows the Swiss-born, Stateside artist, who changed the very nature of visual practice with his definitive ’50s publication ‘The Americans’, as he looks back on his life from the perspectives of New York and coastal Nova Scotia. Frank is entirely open and demythologising about his images and films, marriage and family, as well as the profound wellsprings, of loneliness and loss, public and private, that have underpinned his work. In the end, he says, ‘the traffic takes it all away like the ocean’, but while we’re here, we could do far worse than follow his example, the mantras of which would be ‘life dances on’ and ‘no fear.’ A superb document.
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